Hi, I'm Laura Moss, the Lifelong Learning Manager for RSPB South West Scotland and Regional Office.
The Glasgow Garden Wildlife Festival is over and the office is very, very quiet – everyone has been taking some well-earned holiday time! Now it's all over and the weather has turned cold I'm tucked up in the office dealing with databases and planning, so it is a great time to look back and remember some of exciting events that have happened across the city as part of the festival.
One of my all-time favourite events was the school carnival that was the climax of the festival. When we first had this idea, we were sat in the office one afternoon thinking about what would be a spectacular end to the range of events we were planning this year. At first I thought all the excited ideas about dancing and costumes and drums and performance were just the tea talking, but it turns out they were just the beginning!
With the help of local artist Ruby Pester, pupils from Hillhead High School, Pirie Park Primary, At Andrews Secondary, Knightswood Secondary, Springburn Academy and Rosshall Academy have been designing and making huge animal mascots and costumes as the starting point of the RSPB Schools Ambassador programme in Glasgow. Each of the schools has a species they are championing, and what better way to start letting people know about these species than making such a visual impact!
Pupils from Hillhead High School and St Andrews Secondary School came to the Kelvingrove bandstand for the day to showcase the amazing animal costumes they made, and to learn more about them. The whole day was about wildlife, but also about having fun and making some noise about these fantastic creatures.
The day started for us all with a brilliant guided walk by Paul Walton - the head of habitats and species for Scotland - who we were very lucky to borrow for the morning. Paul is a fantastic and engaging speaker, who managed to enthrall 30 teenagers for over an hour, with talk of ancient landscapes, tree sex, how to survival in the wild, and myths and legends. I've certainly never looked at Kelvingrove park in the same way again!
The pupils also took part in wildlife workshops; learning all about the animals and plants that live in Glasgow, getting out of the classroom and hands-on with nature.
A highlight of the day for everybody were the drumming workshops, lead by samba experts Tina and John. We all learned how to build up a catchy beat with a range of instruments, to work together, and how to make sounds that matched the animals. There was even an impromptu RSPB based rap at one point! The enthusiasm and sense of rhythm of the students was absolutely brilliant, and even the RSPB staff and teachers got carried away by the beat. The artists of the future might be coming from Glasgow...Check out the video below for some practice banging.
After lunch, the final part of the day was the giant animals and their entourage parading through the park and up to Kelvingrove museum, accompanied by the sound of drums, to the bemusement and delight of the crowds of people who were trying to have a civilized museum visit.
This event marked the official start of the RSPB Schools Ambassadors project. Over the next six months we are going to be working with six secondary schools in Glasgow who will be spreading the word about the rare and special species found in their local area – watch this space!
Photo credits: Ambassador schools workshops (Hannah Grist), wildlife workshops (Louise Greenhorn), drumming workshops (Louise Greenhorn), parade (Louise Greenhorn), Finale (Louise Greenhorn). Film by Louise Greenhorn.
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